Stations between Lopburi and Phitsanulok
I took the train from Lopburi to Phitsanulok and these are some photos of some of the lovely little stations we passed through. The stations are very cute with wooden buildings and lovely potted plants and basket flowers. They're very well kept, clean and tidy so Thai's must appreciate them more than we do ours!
Wat San Paolo
These are the ruins of a Christian church which King Narai denoted a plot of land to a French Catholic priest. The architectural style was a mixture of Thai and European styles but all that remains are a portal arch. It's a little bit out of the way to get to and the best way is to walk across the railway tracks at the train station, turn right along the road that runs beside the tracks and then turn left onto the road that runs across the tracks. Carry on walking down this road and over a river and the ruins are away from the road on the right hand side.
- Historical Travel
Pasak Dam or full name is Pasak Jolasid Dam. It's an earth-filled dam with impervious core and the dam has a length of 4,860 meters with the height of 36.5 meters. It is very popular for Thai visitors, mostly they do day trip visit the beautiful dam and also visit blossom festival. And popular way by special train ride only on the weekend, the rail line through the middle of the water and the train stoped by in the middle of the water, visitors can enjoy the view being in the middle of the water.
My last visit I drove around the area and enjoyed the great view of the dam and a big nice park front of the area. There's also some local restaurants and souvenir shops.
Sunflower Blossom Festival
One of famous festivals in cool season of Thailand is Sunflower Blossom Festival. Normally the festival be held in November - February every year and the famous was at Lop Buri and another place at Sara Buri.
I visited one in Lop Buri. There are blooming sunflower along both sides of the highways from Lopburi to Chai Badan district. Nothing much to do there apart from enjoy walking in the field, taking pictures and support some Sunflower product of locals. Well but it's really pleasant trip, good weather.
Temple Off the Town Centre
If you just wander a litlle into the heart of the little town, you cannot miss this tall structure that is just beyond it. There's also a Buddha with a protective umbrella of serpents that makes a pretty picture if taken in the evening jsut across the road.
My Weirdest Sight in Thailand
There was something almost apocalyptic about this bizarre place, somewhere near Lop Buri.
The tuk tuk, on its return (from the AIDS hospice) to Lop Buri made a couple of stops at genuinely beautiful/bizarre places, including what can only be described as a post modern giant Buddah factory (remember the scene in Jason and the Argonauts where the giant statue comes to life?).
Its hard to tell how tall the statues are in this photo (the one on my Lopburi page is better) - but let me assure you, they are massive
As my tuk tuk driver spoke no english i can't tell you where it is - but it is well worth tracking down for the sheer weirdness of it.
If anyone finds out the name of this place I'd love to know!
Without doubt my weirdest sight in Thailand.
- Religious Travel
Whilst having dinner in the White House restaurant in the town, the manager mentioned the local AIDS hospice, which he actively collects donations for. He had a book containing comments from a number of previous visitors who had made donations - given the squalid conditions that they mentioned I was unable to refuse. In order to demonstrate that the money was going to a good cause, the manager arranged for a tuk tuk to take me to the hospice. This is indeed a grim place - I was guided through the establishment by a nurse and it was shocking to see these people robbed of their dignity. Had I known I would have been coming here I would have made sure I had brought some kind of gift - as it was I was empty handed. The garden contains sculptures made from resin containing the bone fragments of previous residents - a sad reminder of the people who have lost their lives to this terrible disease.
In hindsight i wish that I had given my donation directly to the hospice, as I later began to question the genuineness of the restaurant manager. Call me suspicious - but I've been on the receiving end of my fair share of Thailand scams. It should be stressed that this is no tourist attraction - but the hospice desperately needs money and if you want to feel like you are making a difference as a visitor to Thailand - this would be a great place to start.
Every year in early December, usually the first weekend, Lopburi holds a sunflower festival. That is the time of year that sunflowers bloom, just as the weather starts getting cool (relatively). Sunflower is starting to become a popular crop in the non-irrigated amphurs (districts). It can be planted after the rainy season and survive on little more than what moisture is left in the soil, meaning that farmers can harvest one crop and then plant sunflowers - double cropping. Many sunflower fields can be found in amphurs Tha Luang and Pattananikom.
This photo was taken in 1996. My office was responsible for putting this event on. It was moved at the last minute to an area very close to Lopburi town and if i remember correctly it was because a high level official was coming to open the festival and they didn't have time to travel 40 km to get there, so they moved the field closer to him - to suit his schedule of course.
Anyway, i remember being out there early helping my coworkers take sunflowers from other fields and planting them here to make this field look 'suway'. We also had to pull sunflower from other fields to line the road to the new field - whereas the original sunflower field picked months in advance, had sunflowers planted on the road leading to it, ready to direct visitors to the field. The plant lining the roads were looking pretty sad by the 3rd day of the festival since their roots were no longer in any soil. But no matter.
Thais flock to see sunflower fields and take pictures of their faces amidst the yellow petals. The field is literally covered with people and cameras. That alone is worth seeing.
Ask TAT about exact dates and locations for the festival. Or call the Lopburi Provincial Agriculture Extension Office, but their English normally isn't very good.
About 20 km outside of town on the way towards Amphur Patananikom, there is a reservoir call Ang Saplek. There is some windsurfing that happens here along with lots of picnic tables lining the reservoir and of course food vendors supplying you with cgrilled hicken, sticky rice, etc. Just beyond the reservoir there is a wat (temple) built into limestone cliffs (not very high really). You can walk there (maybe 20 minutes from the reservoir), climb the stairs to the temple, go inside and find your way to the interior stairs that lead up to a cement landing. there you can find caves that are home to millions of bats. The wat actually collects and bags the bat droppings to sell because it has high NPK values (high fertility). You can go in the cave and shine a light up to see the ceiling covered and writhing. The bats begin streaming out close to dusk and it is quite a sight - they swoop right over your head. Watch out your don't get crapped upon. The bats then swarm around the countryside - you can see waves of them as they spread out. They eat insects so they are seen as beneficial. There is also a nice view of the countryside from the landing.
To get there you can take public transport toward Patananikom and get off at Ang Saplek and walk. It is about a 15 minute walk the the reservoir from the jump off point.
I had to take my visiting friends to see the bat cave and this picture is taken as we walked between the reservoir and bat temple - not the best angle, but you can see a bit of the temple on the left.
Wat Phrabaht Namphu: HIV/AIDS Hospice
I have written a travelogue about this temple which has reinvented itself as an HIV/AIDS hospice. I don't promote this as a tourist site, but if you are a health professional and/or or you are interested in volunteering on a long or short term basis, this place might be of interest to you.
This temple’s story has appeared in the international press. My last visit was in 1999. It may have changed significantly in the last 3 years.
A word of warning: Thais can appear to be heartless in the way they treat HIV patients. Guides there will try to take you strolling thru the final stages ward to look at the patients with what others may consider a complete disregard for patient dignity. Our small group was appalled by this. You can refuseto go. But this is usual for the patients - The temple regularly receives bus loads of Thai govt people and parades them thru this ward. It is your choice.
If you go to visit, please take some fruit along for patients. Please do give it directly to patients if at all possible - workers there sometimes take donated fruit back to the market to sell.
To get there, you will have to hire private transport. A tuk tuk will take you there and wait a couple of hours for you for 200-300 baht.
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